Thursday, April 5, 2012

Verizon Wireless and Dance of The Dying Droids

Yesterday afternoon my new Droid 4 from Motorola rang once, someone else at our meeting decided to make a call on her own Droid, my phone rang again as I raised from my seat to retrieve it off my kitchen counter.  My counter part at the meeting dialed her number as my phone rang a third time.  The start of another ring and then abruptly the sound vanished as the person dialing on another Droid said, "That's odd, I cannot get signal."

We were not the only only ones who had lost service, our Droids, IPhones and other wireless devices has all suddenly died, unable to carry on the tasks they were designed for.  No calls in or out, no text messaging, no checking our emails or doing a quick Google Search on the World Wide Web.

After verifying that numerous neighbors who also have Verizon Wireless, I made a called to the folks at Verizon Wireless, where after listening to various messages, and pushing numerous buttons I was finally able to speak to someone of a humanoid kind.

Before this supposedly humanoid creature on the other end of the line could do anything for me, she needed some BASIC INFORMATION from me, wanted a few minutes to check my account....translation, let me check your billing service to make sure that is in order first.  After putting me on hold, she checked to make sure I was a Verizon Wireless consumer in good standing, she came back on and wanted to run a few checks on my phone before passing me through to technical support...I guess the fact that I told her there were multiple users in my apartment with the same issue, that none of us could use our phones to even dial 611 was not enough to convince her that the problem was not in my Droid 4, but was a system issue on their end.

After about ten minutes of troubleshooting my equipment she was convinced she needed to transfer me over to technical support where they could HELP ME FURTHER.  She placed me on hold where I for the second time in the call had to enter the last four numbers of my Social Security Number to prove that I was still the me they had put on hold.

After several minutes of listening to a Verizon infomercial (not even elevator music) a new voice came online who asked me to give them my name.  Name provided, they like the first humanoid asked me to give them a few moments to look at my account.  More Verizon infomercial while the second person in the chain of command made sure I was a Verizon Customer in good standing...minutes pass, and then the voice of technical support, "Everything seems to be in order Mr. Martinelli, how can I help you today?"

Stay calm, "I have no service, think one of your tower's has gone down as several of us in the room have no service."

"I hear you, but lets check a few things on your phone first just to be sure."

Per instruction, biting my tongue the whole time I power off my phone, wait, power it on again.  No service, so per instruction I power the phone off again, take the back cover off and take out the magic little computer chip that lets my Droid do it's short, we were doing brain surgery.  Chip out, wait ten seconds, put it back on, re-power the Droid 4. 

"Well, seems like the problem is on our side, let me issue a trouble ticket."

Gritting my teeth, "Thank you so much."

After answering more questions, I am told that the problem does seem to be at the tower.  Am assured that these issues are dealt with immediately, that a crack team of experts, the engineers who are paid the big bucks will be out in the field almost immediately, and that my service, the service of my neighbors would (not could, not might be) be back on within two hours.

"So, if my service is not back on by 8:00 PM, I should call you back?"

"Give us till 9:00, and tell you what, if an update on the problem comes across my computer before I leave, I will give you a call...what's a number you can be reached at?"

The buzz all around our little hamlet by 6:00 PM was about our Verizon Tower, and the lack of any ability to reach out to the world that surrounds us.


A group of us had decided to congregate at Ed's to moan about our predicament over burgers and fries in what could be called a soft opening at the "Mountaindale Inn"...all of us are anxiously waiting for Ed's liqueur license can open so that we can order a beer and listen to a little music.  Because I could still get wifi signal, still had a landline in my apartment thanks to Time Warner I made a second call to get an update on where things stood regarding our community's lack of phone service.

"We have technicians out in the field investigating the issue."

"Could you be more specific?"

"How about this Mr. Martinelli?  I am going to research this a bit more, and if I can have your email, I will send you an update in one hour."

Two hours later, the following email arrives in my box:

to me, Jessica

Mr. Martinelli,
I am sending you this email in regards to remedy ticket 5223346. It is still open and being investigating by our network repair bureau. If you have any additional questions my supervisor Jessica provided you with her direct line for assistance.

Thank you

With the time after 11 PM, figured it was time to get some sleep and get a proper update on the situation over coffee in the morning.

THE NEXT MORNING...Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Coffee in hand, first thing I did was check my Droid 4...still dead.  So, went on line to see if a new update was waiting for me in Email...nothing.  Time to call Verizon and deal with the push 1 for English voice, be put on hold and again enter the last four digits of my Social Security Number while waiting for a human from customer service to come on the line. 

The good news...I did not have to have my Dead Droid 4 tested before being transferred over to someone in technical support who again wanted to know my name, put me on hold while he again reviewed my account.  "Well Mr. Martinelli, you still do not have service I am sorry to say, but we do have our technicians out in the field working on it, but rest assured we are doing everything in our power to restore your service, and I can almost guarantee that you will be back online in 24-48 hours."

"Uhhh...excuse me Mr. Technician Man, but I was told yesterday afternoon before six in the evening we would have service back no latter than 8:30 PM."

"Oh, well I do apologize that someone told you that, but as you know, you are not going to have service that quickly, and don't know why you were given that time frame, as we are instructed to tell people their outage could last 48-72 hours."

CALL IS ESCALATED UP THE CHAIN OF COMMAND to the next member of the NETWORK involved in this issue.

Three people later I am speaking to Jay, who is supposedly the TOP GUN, been in the phone business for forever it seems.  As if he is reading from the same script given out to all the other members of his team, he begins giving me vague and ambiguous answers to what is going on OUT IN THE FIELD, and offers me his direct dial number (585) 739-5848 suggesting I call him personally if this problem continues to go unresolved.  Not really happy with Jay, I request to be passed up the line to his supervisor who is on Robin Morrocco (like the country) who called me back from (585) 314-5030 (She is the Director of the Rochester Call Center)...her bottom line...can you give me some time to look into this?  Maybe if we could reach out to a LOCAL CALL CENTER or OFFICE we could get some real answers?  Just a suggestion.

The long and short of all this for all of us who find ourselves without Verizon Wireless...they have technicians out in the field working on it, and we will not have service before 5:00 PM tomorrow, Friday April 6, 2012.  Key word is before in that sentence, as they are now working with an outside local vender, as the problem is not with our tower, but with the line that carries information to the tower.

Enter one John O'Malley who called me shortly after I got off the phone with  Robin.  His number for all of you wishing to keep in the loop, are wondering who you can get answer from (even if vague and ambiguous) is (585) 321-7264. John can also be reached at (585) 261-5899. You might want to save the call, as it does not matter who you reach out to at Verizon Wireless (Robert, Jay, Robin or John) you are going to come away unhappy, as about all you will be told, is that they have technicians out in the field working on the issue, and are hoping they can have our service back before the weekend starts, but no sooner than tomorrow afternoon at 5:00 PM.

Oh...the three days we are without service (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday)...if you want credit on your account, you WILL HAVE TO CALL AND ASK FOR IT.  You can call their customer service department, but guessing you will get your credit a lot faster if you give John O'Malley a call personally.

*NOTE-on the Droid 4.  

I purchased one BRAND NEW Droid 4.  It stopped working weeks after I got it.  Verizon sent me a replacement...A REFURBISHED UNIT that I have had for about a has issues.